The Interaction between SKYLON and the International Space Station

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M. Hempsell (2010), JBIS, 63, 145-150

Refcode: 2010.63.145
Keywords: SKYLON, International Space Station, logistics

As part of the overall test flight programme of the SKYLON launch system it is planned to include 16 flights to the ISS in order to verify SKYLON's ability to interact with orbital facilities. These flights will test SKYLON equipped with two support systems, the SOFI (SKYLON Orbital Facility Interface), for unpressurised attachment, and the SPLM (SKYLON Passenger/ Logistics Module), for pressurised crew and logistics delivery. The issues involved with integrating the SKYLON test programme with the ISS are explored. Over the course of one year these flights could deliver almost 90 tonnes and 16 station crew but this is not without some problems. The number of flights and the quantity of logistics threaten to overwhelm the ISS, it would require a new docking system to be mounted on the ISS, and the fact they are test flights rather than operational flights may limit the support role they can undertake.

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